Actress Wears Traditional Dress By Chinese Designer Bo Kewen
Following her red carpet debut last year’s Cannes Film Festival, at which she stunned in a slinky gold gown, Chinese actress Fan Bingbing stepped her fashion game up a notch this year at the festival opening in a traditional red dress by the up-and-coming Chinese designer Bo Kewen (卜柯文).
Painstakingly hand-made over the course of four months, Fan’s dramatic red gown was embroidered with white cranes and featured a bow detail on the bodice. The dress had been kept under tight wraps in the weeks leading up to Cannes, with Fan’s own assistants being prevented from seeing the garment until the last minute. According to Bo Kewen, the embroidered white cranes are symbolic of peace and freedom, and going a step further, in traditional Asian symbology connote nobility. A total of nine cranes are embroidered into Fan’s dress, as the number nine, considered auspicious in Chinese culture, is also Fan Bingbing’s lucky number.
Having worked as Fan Bingbing’s personal stylist for nearly five years, this is the first time for Bo Kewen to personally design a dress under his own “brand name.” Over the course of the design process, Fan contributed her own ideas, in terms of pattern and style, some of which (like the nine cranes) Bo worked into the final garment.
A graduate of the Beijing Film Academy, Bo Kewen has a unique eye for fashion. While he is far from a household name, Bo’s styles have been instrumental in Fan Bingbing’s increasing visibility in the global fashion scene. In some ways, Bo’s success in shaping Fan’s image has meant that her reputation as a fashion plate now far surpasses her reputation as an actress. Over the past few years, Bo has crafted and nurtured a trademark quirky style for Fan Bingbing, seen not only last year at Cannes but more recently at Paris Fashion Week 2011 and in magazines like GQ and Esquire China. Considering his role in catapulting her into the global spotlight, it’s not surprising that Fan has invited Bo Kewen to escort her down the red carpet and enjoy some of the media attention himself, a turn that’s made Bo an increasingly sought-after designer among China’s well-heeled fashionistas.
Still, Bo Kewen’s talents extend far beyond designing custom dresses for Fan Bingbing. Bo, as Fan’s personal stylist, is also in charge of matching her outfits with her hairstyle, makeup and accessories. In a recent interview given during Paris Fashion Week, Bo shared his thoughts with the Chinese-language portal NetEase about how best to use fashion to reflect one’s personality. From NetEase (translation by Jing Daily team):
The clothing lines created by big brands are usually quite limited, so [Fan Bingbing and I] usually like to adjust minor details like makeup and hairstyle to switch it up a bit. For example, we paired a suit with a matching pair of glasses and spruced it up with a small butterfly hairpin. Bingbing had purchased that pair of glasses a while back when we’d gone shopping, but we never had a chance to work them into her wardrobe.
The Dior suit Bingbing wore [at Paris Fashion Week] had kind of a retro feel to it, so we thought her sunglasses might provide a good contrast. Lots of outfits don’t stand out at first glance, but if you find some points that you can accentuate and use some creativity, they turn out great.
Designer Bo Kewen: definitely one to keep an eye on among China’s ever-growing pool of home-grown fashion talent.